Tag Archives: Italy

Malacology during the First World War

We provide two postcards [1] written from malacologists at the beginning of the First World War in 1914, between France and Italy.

In the first one, Philéas Rousseau (1860–1935), a French malacologist who was interested in botany and zoology (he published two catalogues dealing with molluscs and vascular plants of the island of Ré, near La Rochelle), wrote to Raimondo del Prete (1850–1937), an Italian malacologist. This letter is dated August 27, 1914, just one month after the beginning of the war. He expressed concern about a parcel with shells sent to him one month ago (thus just some days before France entered the war!) and asked him to stop the shipments until a return to calm: “Veuillez donc je vous prie, me donner des nouvelles du colis postal de Coquilles que je vous ai adressé il y a un mois. Vous devez comprendre mon inquiétude à ce sujet en raison de la tourmente que nous traversons. Vouloir bien attendre des temps plus tranquilles pour m’expédier le vôtre ; ça ne presse pas“.

The second postcard is written by Commandant Eugène Caziot (1844–1931) from Alpes-Maritimes (France) and adressed to Francesco Settepassi (1889–1982), a young Italian malacologist, living in Viareggio as R. del Prete. The card is dated November 1, 1914, two months after the letter of Ph. Rousseau to del Prete and the declaration of war with France (August 3, 1914). Unlike Ph. Rousseau, Caziot is less cautious with sendings and continue his activity in an ever more troubled world. However, in this postcard, Caziot is worried about his last sending (probably a parcel of shells) and a consecutive letter, both remained without response: “Je vous ai fait connaître que je vous faisais un envoi ; je vous ai adressé une carte 15 jours après. Je n’ai pas reçu ni avis ni réponse. Vous seriez aimable de me sortir d’inquiétude“.

Reference:
Vimpère J., 2015. Découverte d’un inventaire manuscrit des Mollusques de la Vendée rédigé par Edmond Bocquier (1881-1948). Folia conchyliologica, 31: 3-13 [Notice on Ph. Rousseau, portr., p. 9]

[1] Source: Audibert, private collection